'Qala is the only film in my career where I will be taking baby steps.'
Irrfan Khan's son Babil Khan makes his acting debut in Anvita Dutt's Netflix film Qala.
"I was grieving after Baba passed away when I was called for this audition," Babil tells Subhash K Jha.
I saw your work in Qala and liked it. How and why is this your debut film?
I am so happy that you liked Qala. This film was not about showcasing my talent.
It was like a first step into the world of cinema as a performer, after being a student of cinema in my degree course.
The world of Anvita Dutt has the finesse of an international school.
I am proud to begin with an Indian film, which has a compelling story, amazing cinematography, costumes, art and great original music.
You play a folk singer of intuitive brilliance. Did you get to learn Hindustani classical?
No. I don't think one can learn Hindustani classical music in the limited time of prep for a film or else every singer would be claiming to be a classical singer.
But I heard a lot of classical music, especially Kumar Gandharva, as he was my Baba's favourite singer.
I am grateful that this film has my Baba's favourite Kabir's doha: Udd jayega hans akela.
How supportive were your co-stars, considering you were the baby of the team?
Well, babies always have the most lovely time and I behaved like a baby, trying to feel secure at the warmth of Director Anvita Dutt, Producer Karnesh Sharma, Varun (Grover) sir, Swanand (Kirkire) sir and Swastika (Mukherjee) ma'am.
I was also that baby who watched Tripti Dimri with awe. She is brilliant in the film.
I learnt so much from all my co-actors.
I think the word 'baby' fits the situation the best because this is the only film in my career where I will be taking baby steps.
I am already in primary school in my next project.
How difficult has it been for you to get a break in films? Did being your father's son help you get a foot in the door?
I did not go through that route.
In fact, I was grieving after Baba passed away when I was called for this audition.
How daunted are you by the prospect of being compared to your legendary father?
I would be responsible for my choice of films because I could always hear him say in that lighter note that he only used for me: 'What? Sach? Babila yeh kahani pasand aai?'
I would be more truthful towards the values learnt from my parents, rather than be daunted at being judged or compared to him.
I knew Irrfan as a kind, honest and caring human being. How much of his personality traits have you inherited?
How do I answer that?
How can I say, 'Oh, I am very humble like my dad.'
If we meet for a long chat, you could decide that.
How do you see your future? Is acting the only vocation that interests you?
I don't live in the future.
I live in this present, which looks very busy, like 24 hours are too little to balance everything.
There is so much to do.
I want to travel through India.
I am a city-bred boy, so I want to know my country.
There are so many gurus in every part of India that my parents know. I wish I could learn something from them.
So there is a huge to-do list.
Acting, I love, but I love music too. At some very late point, I would like to tell stories, not only as an actor.
But first, let me plumb the depth of acting.